Minister warned over road safety bill

08 December 2005

  • Institute of Advanced Motorists calls for ‘new deal’
  • Trust needed between police, public and government
  • Speed limit review suggested

Gatso medium

The Government has been warned it needs to strike a ‘new deal’ between motorists and the police if the use of speed cameras is to be trusted and road safety improved.

Yesterday, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) told road safety minister Stephen Ladyman that the slate needs to be wiped clean, so that Government and the police can work to regain the respect of UK motorists and cut deaths on UK roads.

IAM chairman John Maxwell welcomed many elements of the Government's Road Safety Bill, currently working its way through Parliament. However, he suggested other measures to Ladyman, including warnings for first-time speeders and a review of speed limits, some of which Maxwell said were set 'unrealistically low'.

'It is a huge regret that the plague of speed cameras and the robotic issue of tough penalties for many trivial infringements has had such a damaging effect on relations between drivers and the police,' Maxwell told Ladyman. 'The impression is that the whole thing is about income generation, not road safety.'

Maxwell also warned that speed cameras could never replace 'flesh and blood' traffic police, and called for much tougher penalties for the worst offenders.

The Road Safety Bill is expected to be passed next year. It will introduce more lenient penalties for certain speeding offences and make radar or laser-based speed camera detectors illegal.

Talking on a handheld mobile phone at the wheel will become an endorsable offence which puts points on drivers' licences, while trials of 'alcohol locks' will be started. These mechanisms prevent repeat drink-drivers from starting their cars if they have consumed alcohol.

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